There's a term for taking leftover budget funds in one calendar year and using them the next year, in the context of government budgeting.

I am having a brain freeze and can't remember it or find it on google. I know it's a reasonably short word (my guess is in the 5-9 letter range, 2-3 syllables) and it rhymes with a common word, possibly a food item. Don't ask me why I remember that. :-)

2 Answers 2


I'd suggest "rollover" which is short, three syllables, but I can't think of a food item it rhymes with... not wait will "apple turnover" work? :-)

I don't think it is specific to governments, but it is a common word in finance meaning taking the excess or remainder and moving it into the next thing: think 401k rollover, or budget rollover.

  • Also, "carry-over". It doesn't make me think of cucumber, but I am thinking about a pizza now! May 31, 2013 at 19:32

ah: I found it. encumber (which rhymes with cucumber)

Here's an example context from Wabash, Indiana:


This form is to be used for the encumbering of certain expenses from the current year's budget into the next budget year. The department must have remaining appropriations in their current budget line item in order to request encumbering. Please keep in mind that it is quite reasonable to pay for expenses incurred in December out of the new budget year's funds, since budgets are estimates only and the payment of expenses is deducted from the fund's cash balance regardless of when the payment is made.

It is not necessary to request encumbering just to "use up" remaining amounts within a budgeted line item.

Claims paid on December 19, 2011 will be taken from the current year's budget. Claims paid on January 9, 2012 (even with December 2011invoices) will be taken from the new budget year appropriations unless there is an approved request to encumber funds

or from Kauai, Hawaii:

Chair Nishimura recommended that the conference funds be encumbered for next year if they are not used in the current budget this year.

other examples (look for "encumber" in these documents):

  • 1
    Do you have any sources to back this up? An encumbrance in financial trading contexts (and hence, included in accounts and feasibly budgets) is effectively an "outstanding commitment/debt". I've never heard of encumber used in the sense you've given. In fact, encumbrance accounting (including outstanding encumbrances in the accounts) is simply a means of making sure departments don't overspend (because if they see their "spoken-for" balance near the end of the year, they think they can spend it again, even though it's already committed). May 31, 2013 at 1:31
  • I was on a town commission in New England and if our commission had funds left over at the end of the year, the only way to keep them in our commission's budget for next year was to have the Board of Selectmen encumber these funds. Otherwise they would go back into the town's General Fund.
    – Jason S
    May 31, 2013 at 1:42
  • @ Jason S: I can understand how encumberances affect apparently available funds, and obviously it's possible to imagine various flavours of meaning to a derived verb encumber there. But if your commission used it the way you say, I suggest this may have been a highly localised usage. In reality, you haven't taken "left over/spare" money at all - you've simply taken account of the fact that some money which has already been "spent" is still in the account, so it can't be "reclaimed" by the original fund providers. May 31, 2013 at 1:57
  • OK, I can understand that... feel free to close as localized. I thought it was a general meaning. It may just be a New England thing.
    – Jason S
    May 31, 2013 at 2:44
  • Hmm. Maybe not. Here's an example usage for Washington County, Indiana: gbpnews.com/…
    – Jason S
    May 31, 2013 at 2:49

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